INTERVIEWS SICK OF SARAH
ONE IS SARAH?
ABISHA UHL OF SICK OF
THEIR DEBUT CD
SURVIVING ON THE ROAD
Hailing from the
Midwest (Minneapolis, specifically),
which seems to be the last refuge for rock n roll on the United
States, the all-girl rock band SICK OF SARAH has just released their
self-titled debut CD on ADAMANT RECORDS. Lead singer and
guitarist ABISHA UHL's enthusiastic vocals recalls ARI UP of THE
SLITS on the more raucous tracks, yet brings it down to a FEIST-like
purr on the gentler tracks. Guitarists KATIE MURPHY and JESSIE FARMER
are equally willing to crank it up or tone it down to wherever UHL's
whimsical songwriting decides to go. The bands rhythm section is
comprised of a reliable JAMIE HOLM on bass and a meticulous BROOKE
SVANES on drums. With influences that range from JOAN JETT,
SLEATER-KINNEY, and the unlikely JOHN FOGERTY, 'SICK OF SARAH' is an
intriguing rock roll package that demonstrates a little more quirk
than the best of THE GO-GOs, and a little more bite than anything THE
BANGLES have ever released. While the CD is filled with the frantic,
melodic rockers such as 'HARDEST PART' and 'NOT LISTENING', the band
allows it's VANESSA CARLTON-like singer-songwriter inclinations to
shine through on the tracks, 'COMMON MISTAKE', 'BITTERSWEET', and
'PAINT LIKE THAT'.
ROCKWIRED spoke with lead singer and
guitarist ABISHA UHL over the phone. Here is how it went.
you dames touring at the moment?
We just got back from a short
And where all did that take you?
just went to Milwaukee and Chicago and Brooklyn Michigan
the Midwest is rock n roll country.
got a great CD out. An now that it's out there for everyone to hear,
what's all going through your head?
We're just hoping for the
best. So far, the response has been promising. Right now, we're just
rolling with the punches and seeing what happens.
reading that you are fro Okinawa Japan.
Yeah, I grew up there.
My dad was a teacher overseas. I lived there until I graduated high
school and from there moved to Minneapolis.
What was it
like having grown up in japan and moving here?
We did a lot of
visiting back and forth every summer. I kind of already knew what to
expect but it was definitely a change of atmosphere, but living in
Okinawa was great. It's a nice little island. It was very small but
it was a lot of fun. Good people and good food. The music was
definitely different. You didn't get to hear as much of the Western
styled music, so moving to America acclimated me to more of the rock
n roll stuff.
What kind of music were you surrounded by
We had one radio station. It was the Armed Forces
radio station. We got some Western music but I wasn't into it that
much . I was more into my brother's bands and some of the J-POP stuff
that was going on.
What music spoke to you, personally?
did grow up with a lot of WEEZER. It's hard for me to say what spoke
tome. I just kind of started writing right away and that was what
came out of me.
Well, SICK OF SARAH is an interesting
grouping of musicians. What got everyone on the same page to be in
It was very automatic. We combined our influences
together and made it work. Everyone in the band has their own
particular style and way of writing, yet it cam together very easily
and very quickly. After getting together, a couple months later, we
were already doing our first show. The chemistry just really kicked
in. With me, I've got more of the punk pop thing going on and JESSIE
FARMER has a more JOAN JETT kind of influence. BROOKE SVANES, our
drummer also has that same kind of an influence and she throws it
down like a mad woman. Everybody had a very different background as
far as music is concerned but together we've all got to make sure
that it rocks.
Talk about each of your band mates and tell
me what you think each of them brings to the table not just musically
but personality-wise as well.
JESSIE is the rock star! She was
rock star since the day she was born. I'm pretty sure that she came
out of her mother with a faux hawk. She definitely has the JOAN JETT
influence. Our drummer BROOKE is also into girl bands like
SLEATER-KINNEY. BROOKE is more like the shy-girl of the band where as
JESSE is the natural born rock star. Our bassist JAMIE HOLM, is
really good at structuring and is just a real tight bass player.
KATIE MURPHY, our other guitar player, was influenced by people like
JOHN FOGERTY and THE BANGLES and AMY GRANT, so she brings a little
prettiness to us. As far as myself, I'm really into melodies. I
really like to write stuff that's poppy and melodic and catchy. All
together, we're a really fun group of girls and we have a lot of fun
going on the road doing what we do. We all get along. Sometimes. Not
all the time.
Come on, you've gotta think
about five girls on the road together. Try to imagine that.
can. I grew up in a house full of women.
You were the one
going to the store and grabbing tampons, right?
God! But it was still rough.
Did they dress you up.
I was the oldest.
Lucky you! that would not be fun.
the creative process to me. How do songs get written in this
Myself and JESSIE will come up with a base or a skeleton
of a song and when we think that we have something great, then we
will bring it to the table and everyone will add their part to it.
Having the whole band there to help flesh out a song makes
everything move a lot faster. It starts with an idea then everyone
adds their own thing and then it starts from there.
this album, what songs stick out for you at the moment, and why?
me personally, I have a really big connection with BITTERSWEET
because I feel that was the song that got the band in the door. It's
definitely my favorite and i feel that it has a lot of potential and
if it wasn't by our band I would definitely go buy it somewhere else
because I love it so much. The other one that I like just as much
would have to be PAINT LIKE THAT because at the time that it was
written, myself and JESSIE were going through this hard time because
of break ups, so that one sticks out for me and for JESSIE as well.
It means a lot to us. Another song, that I know all the other
girls would really really love is BREAKDOWN. That song was actually
written when we were lost and our van broke down and we were lost in
Metropolis, Illinois for tow or three nights. We were in the middle
of butt-fuck nowhere, but I guess that Metropolis is the home of
SUPERMAN, so that was cool!
I don't think it was
Well they act like he was born there,
like he got off the starship or what ever the hell happened with him
as a kid and landed there. I don't think he would've landed there
because it's definitely not a fun place. So while we were stuck
there, we figured that we would take the opportunity to write a song
there. So BROOKE our drummer found this tea pot, a bucket from an ice
vending machine, and a bunch of other things and made a little drum
set, and we had a guitar and we started writing BREAKDOWN. The song
kind of came out of nowhere and ended up being something that we all
It sounds like a band that's been through the
We've been through a lot of things. We've been through
blizzards, rain storms...It's been insane. We actually took a ship to
tour the world and it sunk - just kidding. You're probably going
'what the hell!'.
I was. I was thinking these gals can't
even get out of Metropolis, Illinois let alone get on a ship. Anyway,
now that I think of it, you guys are the first all girl band that
I've ever interviewed.
I wanna ask the groupie
question. Does that work for an all-girl band?
What do you
Do you have groupies?
Yeah. Oh yeah! A lot of
them are girls. That's pretty much our demographic.
kind of leads into my next question. How have live audiences reacted
to the band?
Very well. Sometimes we'll be performing and
we'll be wondering if they are into it or not because they don't
really respond until after the show when they tell us things like
'that was amazing!' and that they had a great time. Everyone who has
come to see us has been pleasantly surprised which I think is great.
We've never gotten any bad feedback except for when the band was
about two months old and people would say things like 'it's good
you're only two months old 'cause you need a lot of work.' I think
that in the past six months, we've really stepped up our game.
Being based in Minneapolis, what kind of music scene are
you surrounded by?
A really great one. It's always been known
for it's music. A lot of rock n roll and a lot of hip-hop comes out
of here. It's good! People are very appreciative and show a lot of
support to the bands here.
What do you want a person to
come away with after they've heard this CD?
I want them to
have felt happy when they listened to it as well as sad at some
moments. I want people that listen to the album to be affected in a
good way and I hope those people stick around and become long term
fans because we definitely plan on being around for a long time.